Friday, May 17, 2024

‘More like home than America’: Mallrat talks about being in Victoria and playing at Rifflandia


Rifflandia has now officially come to a close for another year in which the festival managed to break records for the number of artists they brought in and how many people were in attendance. 

Six days, over two weekends, saw over 80 high-calibre artists coming into Victoria from all around the world to perform in front of thousands of adoring fans.

This year, Rifflandia cast a wide net in terms of who they booked to play the festival.

They had thrash punk bands like Suicidal Tendencies, numerous DJs such as Paris Hilton, Diplo and Melanie C of the Spice Girls while jazz legend, Herbie Hancock also took the main stage.

One act that was a special treat for Victorians was a Brisbane-based singer and rapper who goes by Mallrat and is blowing up in the world of indie and pop music. 

Victoria Buzz had the opportunity to sit down with Mallrat and chat about her time spent on Vancouver Island and what is next for her budding career. 

Mallrat is the musical project of Grace Shaw, who came over to North America to play just four shows in a quick tour this summer — Victoria being one of her four stops. 

She chose to go by Mallrat because the name is misleading and she thought that inspired an air of mystery and surprise in her music.

“My name’s Grace, but there were a lot of Graces when I started making music, so I was like, I need something different,” Shaw explained. 

“I chose Mallrat partially because it’s misleading and I liked that when you hear Mallrat, the connotation is kind of like a band of four dudes drinking beer, surfing and playing in their garage.”

Despite what some would assume, Shaw had not seen Kevin Smith’s cult-classic film Mallrat until after she had decided to use the name for her music career. SHe did however watch it afterward and thought it was funny. 

Mallrat (Photo Courtesy of Tyson Elder Photography/Rocktographers)

Mallrat has only toured through Canada once before and it was prior to the pandemic, so she found she couldn’t remember it that well but she said she would certainly remember it from this trip. 

Victoria is also a state in Shaw’s homeland in Australia and it is the smallest of the country’s six states. 

She herself was born and raised in Brisbane, Queensland, but says that she knows the area well and that Canada’s Victoria has a resemblance to the Victoria she knows back home.

“There was a moment yesterday when we were driving through and we were like, this actually could be a part of Melbourne, like Port Melbourne or something” Shaw said. 

“It’s definitely more like home than America.”

“We just drove across the border this morning and immediately it’s more familiar,” she added.


Mallrat’s sound can be described as sad-girl indie pop with a dash of rap and Shaw says that her inspirations are widespread across many facets of life.

Victoria Buzz asked her what Canadian influences she has in life as well as music and found out that a fellow Vancouver Islander is one of Shaw’s biggest inspirations.

“Pamela Anderson is a really big inspiration of mine and she’s Canadian,” said Shaw, not realizing Anderson was born and raised just north of Victoria in Ladysmith. 

“She is probably my biggest Canadian hero.”

“Justin Bieber is Canadian, but he’s not really an influence, I just like Justin Bieber,” she laughed.

Mallrat (Curtis Blandy/Victoria Buzz)

Although she didn’t get to see much of Rifflandia on Friday or Sunday, she was glad to have gotten to be there for some of Saturday’s bands. 

“I was really excited to see Paris Hilton, but I didn’t pay attention to who was playing what days,” Shaw explained. Also my friend Blu DeTiger, but she played last week — I love her.”

“I’m keen to see whoever. If I have the chance to see Mavis Staples or Diplo, that would be pretty interesting.”

While in Victoria, Mallrat didn’t have a ton of opportunity to explore the city, but did manage to get out of her accommodations and into the Inner Harbour for a walk to appreciate the beauty of the Legislature, Empress Hotel and more.

“This morning, I had a little bit of extra time than my band, but only half an hour,” she laughed. 

“So I sat in the sunshine then I was near the museum, but I only had 15 minutes left, so I only went into the museum gift shop. I didn’t actually get to go into the museum.”

“It’s a good gift shop though,” she exclaimed. 

Mallrat performed so well at Rifflandia and she told Victoria Buzz she hopes she gets to come back to Vancouver Island again on her future tours. 

For now, Shaw is focussed on recording her second full-length record which she hopes to be able to release sometime next year.

Curtis Blandy

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